But, I also received an email from Mark, a developer of a different book discovery site, The Hawaii Project. From that email:
"I've always been frustrated by online book discovery services as they are so unpersonalized, recommending me books that have nothing to do with my interests or reading habits. I built something called The Hawaii Project, a personalized book discovery engine. It scans about 1000 high quality sources that write about books (everything from something like The New York Times or The Guardian down to niche blogs about medieval history or espionage fiction), figures out what books the tastemakers are writing about, then personalizes it to each reader based on their interests and reading history. Since it is scanning the web, it can also bring interesting articles and content to your attention as well as just recommending books, and it always topical because it’s keeping track of what’s going on *now*. Kind of like a personalized Google News for books."You can go here to learn more about The Hawaii Project and how they donate 10% of their proceeds to literary charities. But here are two screen shots to give you an idea of what you will find there.
I have played around with it a bit and a few of my favorite things so far are:
- Being able to make lists of types of books. Here is an example of books which feature circuses. I have patrons who love everything with dragons or featuring the Tudors no matter the genre. This feature is perfect to help them.
- Access to a scrolling "books" newsfeed.
- The ability to follow specific genres easily. Here is the page for horror. It's news, authors, and books all on one page.
- The site even generates readalike lists. For example, here is the Joe Hill Channel for "similar reads. It's not too bad in terms of giving suggestions.
I suggest you use it three ways. First, just click through and start looking around without even signing up. Second, sign up to follow some of your library's most popular authors and see how it helps you serve your patrons. And third, get some of your super patrons to give it a try, use it, and come back to you with their honest thoughts
In general, I love assigning my super patrons with jobs to read books for me or check out a resource. They are always so flattered to be asked, they have no problem being brutally honest with you, and it gives me a different, non professional perspective on whatever I assigned them. Plus, let's be honest, they have more time to do a more comprehensive job.
If you want to contact Mark, he has been doing research into RA service and is fascinated by it. Click here and scroll down to drop him a line. He really wants to hear from us.
We cannot have to many places to look for book suggestions and this one has a unique focus, so give it a try.